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H.P. LOVECRAFT

H.P. Lovecraft

Proto-Prog


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H.P. Lovecraft H.P. Lovecraft album cover
3.36 | 49 ratings | 7 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wayfaring Stranger (2:35)
2. Let's Get Together (4:35)
3. I've Been Wrong Before (2:46)
4. Drifter (4:11)
5. That's the bag I'm In (1:46)
6. White Ship (6:37)
7. Country Boy and Bleeker Street (2:35)
8. Time Machine (2:05)
9. That's How Much I Love You, Baby... (3:55)
10. Gloria patria (Trad.) (0:26)

Total Time: 31:31

Bonus tracks on 2018 CD release:
11. Anyway That You Want Me
12. It's All Over For You

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Cavallari / lead guitar, vocals
- George Edwards / acoustic 6- & 12-string and electric guitars, vocals
- Dave Michaels / organ, piano, harpsichord, clarinet, recorder, vocals
- Jerry McGeorge / bass, vocals
- Michael Tegza / percussion, drums, timpani, vocals

With:
- Jack Henningbaum / French horn
- Paul Trevelt / French horn
- Herb Weiss / trombone
- Ralph Craig / trombone
- Clyde Bachand / tuba
- Bill Traub / reeds
- Lenny Druss / clarinet, English horn, piccolo, bass & tenor saxophones
- Bill Traut / bells
- Eddie Higgins / vibraphone, horn arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: John Cabalka

LP Philips ‎- PHS-600-252 (1967, US)

CD Collectors - Choice Music - CCM-139-2 (2000, US) Together with the 2.nd album, on a single CD
CD Oldays Records ‎- ODR6536 (2018, Japan) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

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H.P. LOVECRAFT H.P. Lovecraft ratings distribution


3.36
(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(14%)
14%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(47%)
47%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

H.P. LOVECRAFT H.P. Lovecraft reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 4,5 stars really!!!!

This outstanding debut is from 67 and actually reaches even further ahead than Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow as far as groundbreaking is concerned. The superb and lenghty interplay on most songs leaves you wondering how these guys did not get propelled to superstardom the way some much less gifted groups did in those years.

Heavily leaning on folk - the album has two Fred Neil covers plus the standard Let's Get Together - this absolute and uncanny psychedelic record is simply marvellous from head to toe. From superb opener Wayfaring Stranger to stunning 6 min+ The White Ship (Bolero-paced with outstanding slow and hypnotic and haunting atmosphere), this album is loaded with superb, surprising, sublime and supreme covers of some classic songs, completely re-arranged (resembling somewhat to Vanilla Fudge's debut album although not quite as heavy, but just as spine-chilling) to the point that they could almost be considered as originals. Included in those is a superb rendition of Edmunsson's The Drifter (based on Hesse's Steppenwolf character), a very moody (and chilling with its superb flute) version of Randy Newman's I've Been Wrong Before and a short but stupendous album outro Gloria Patria Gregorian chants showing their incredible vocal harmonies and audacity. A wide array of instruments are used throughout from flutes to harpsichords to bells and chimes.

The only weaker track is a ragtime piece Time Machine, an original, but it is quickly forgotten and completely offset by the rest of the album. However it be unknown to the majority, this album is a real gem and IMHO, a historically important album, even if their second album actually tops this one.

Review by Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm much less impressed with this album than I'd like to be. The crux of the issue is that HP Lovecraft were legendary for having an eerie, mystical sound...honestly, I don't hear it. What we have is a bunch of fairly well- done folk-rock/early psych covers and a couple of originals. There nothing particularly psychedelic about songs by Fred Neil, a rootsy folk, or Let's Get Together, a song that was already cliched in the late 60s. The album has a nice, reverby sound like most early psych albums, which I do enjoy, but the material is mostly anything but surreal. There is a very good Jefferson Airplanish vocal blend between the two lead vocalists...in fact, Surrealistic Pillow or Jefferson Airplane Takes Off are excellent points of reference for this album. It's particularly frustrating for me, because only on the track "White Ship" do I find the band's reputation to be justified. This song has all the surreal, ominous atmosphere that I was led to expect by reading numerous reviews of the band's work. I wish they had pursued more of this and less unfocussed experiments like the lounge jazz of "That's How Much I Love you Baby" or the old timey "Time Machine". A decent psych album with an overblown reputation that doesn't really conjure the atmosphere of HP Lovecraft, the author, at all.
Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars I can't understand why H. P. LOVECRAFT is catalogued as Proto Prog, IMHO the band never really came near to Progressive Rock, they were one of the most outstanding and iconic Psychedelic bands with hints of the British Invasion, so I believe they should be in Psyche/Space Rock, but this is a matter of opinions.

Their self titled debut starts with Wayfaring Stranger, a typical product of early Psychedelia, the vocal work is privileged over the jamming and trippy solos, and this is more evident in Let's Get Together, closer to HERMAN HERMITS than to any real Proto Prog band as PROCOL HARUM or to ARTHUR BROWN, solid sound, coherent melody and nice vocals but little exploration.

I've Been Wrong Before is an advance, even when there is a clear Country element,. the keyboards begin to get up with the music of the late 60's, reminds me a bit of Rick Wright's style but with some Country Troubadour in the vocals, interesting song with a terrible ending.

In Drifter, the band continues with the same formula, late British Invasion with early Psyche elements, this proves that they were not as advanced as people tend to believe, I think Dave Michaels would had done a better work on another band, this guys seemed too attached to the past and not ready to embrace the radical changes of their era.

The same comment goes for hat's the bag I'm Inand I White Ship, musically impeccable but nothing new, as a fact I believe they were years behind their peers, but on the other hand Country Boy and Bleeker Street is a very pleasant surprise, H. P. LOVECRAFT start to be really explorative, now not only the trippy organ but also the aggressive guitar a la Hendrix make us notice this guys had the ability to be part of the Psychedelic Experimental scenario, a great leap for them.

My initial impression of The Time Machine was of disappointment, if ELP included this vaudeville tracks consider fillers, but they had enough strong material to balance the album, something I honestly can't find in H. P. LOVECRAFT, but around the minute, there is a short but radical change, an obscure organ with some interesting vocals add a special interest to the track, sadly too short and soon they return to the boring filler, but at least they proved they were able to make some weird experiments.

I can just describe That's How Much I Love You, Baby (More or Less) as boring, predictable and years behind what they should be doing, the vocal work reminds me of backup singers for crooners, had to press the skip button to maintain my mental sanity. The album is closed with Gloria Patria a short Gregorian style track sung in Latin, I don't know if this 31 seconds will satisfy anybody, but they were doing something unexpected and imaginative and that's a great advance.

Until a few weeks ago I had a not so good impression of this band, but I kept saying that I required to listen their debut album to have a valid opinion, well I have done it repeatedly during the last month and I'm absolutely unimpressed, a good band, skilled musicians but who didn't dared to be different or to give the extra step required to be great.

Never before rating an album had been so hard, the guys of H. P. LOVECRAFT are very skilled and have a good sense of melody, but their music leaves me cold, they take almost no risks and the final product is disappointing, no inspiration, no passionate solos or brilliant jamming sessions, just good Rock, Country and early but conservative Psyche, good for 1964 maybe but not for 1967, so I can't go with more than 2 stars that could be 2.5 in the best scenario.

Review by ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There is a tendency for us reviewers to class anything and everything that we like as prog. Obviously, we are prog fans. Anything we love must be prog as well.

I'm here to tell you it just ain't so, but H. P. Lovecraft's debut is still a stunning album.

Most of this album is fantastically atmospheric psychedelic music with some folk roots. I suppose one could compare it with early Pink Floyd (with a dash of The Pentangle thrown in), but it's got a much more consistent sound. Excellent production, great compositions punched up with some nice (but not overstated) arrangements, and some EXTREMELY tight playing by these talented musicians makes this a gem. When I say consistent sound, I mean a CONSISTENT sound. Listening to Let's Get Together is an experience. These guys cover a standard and transform it in to a composition of their own in a way that has rarely been done. We are talking a cover as epic as Yes's version of America here, and way beyond anything Vanilla Fudge did with covers.

Anyhow, if you have even the faintest liking of the psychedelic sound, you will love this. The music isn't that complex, but it is impeccably played. These guys have chops! My own personal favorite is I've Been Wrong Before, but I may just be projecting my personal life into the music. Still the accuracy of the musicians blows me away on that track, as well as the others.

Four stars. If you are looking for prog, this isn't it. If you are looking for something that has some faint affinity with the roots of prog, you'll love it.

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars So, you're standing in a smoky hall in San-Francisco - probably the Fillmore West or some other notable venue - surrounded by a sea of counterculture kids donning tie-dye t-shirts who can be seen regularly ejecting plumes of blue smoke from their young mouths. Then, as the lights dim, you realise that the music is about to start. The stage lights turn down, the band enter the stage, the crowd cheer, the psychotropic drugs start to kick in and the music starts. Or so it would have seemed in 1969. San Francisco-based HP Lovecraft are one of a clutch of groups who, for some, seem to some up the West coast psychedelic sound that engulfed America and beyond in the late sixties. Though not as well known as some of their luminaries, the band still exhibited an experimental-pop sound that could only have been a product of this unique time. The likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplance, Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly espoused this new, free-thinking rock movement, filling the airwaves with blissful rock, bluesy rhythms, experimental madness and left-wing political ideology, thus giving birth to the new ideals that seem popular and mundane in our new, digital 21st century age. Never again will music as beautiful and as original as this be produced again, which is a terrible indictment on our modern society. That is not to say good music does not exist these days because it does, in abundance. It's just the creative freedom of yesterday has been replaced by the slavish commercial needs of both the record companies and the masses who purchase their products. HP Lovecraft came from a simpler time, a time when bands were mush more than commodoties; they were artists in their own write and their art defined a generation. 'HP Lovecraft 1' is a true example of this magical time and it's quality has lasted throughout the ages in the great songs that frequent it's track-listing, such as the ominous blues of 'Wayfaring Stranger' the ethereal and mysterious 'The White Ships', making up a dazzling 1960's album that is one of the many jewels in the psychdelic rock crown. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars H.P. Lovecraft: The man, the myth, the legend, the psychedelic rock band. As a first album in 1967, the band was immediately ambitious with their approach with its vast array of styles and instruments. The production was quite good for its time as well, and the musicians were tight in their playing; there's really not a sloppy moment to be found here. As a band though, going for a mellower approach to the psychedelic scene that was in full swing resulted in them not being so well remembered years later. As excellent as the band was performance-wise, they hardly showed off their skills with solos & such, thus I would have to say that their defining aspect would have to be their vocal harmonies, which ring similar to bands like Jefferson Airplane and even The Moody Blues. These guys can sing!

This debut has a fair share of covers, with the most familiar being hippie anthem Let's Get Together, which actually isn't so bad at all. A little strange though, almost like a mash up of the original song and the theme from "Friends", but not as horrifying as that description might imply. Some of these songs are catchier than others, and some of the songs are just oddball, especially towards the end of the album, when the band really starts bouncing around stylistically. You have a silly ragtime song with an even sillier 'acid trip' moment tossed into the middle of it, plus there's the Dean Martin on acid lounge of That's How Much I Love You, Baby..., and the last track is like some brief (but well done) Gregorian chant, which probably wasn't heard all that often in the rock scene back in 1967. But overall, there's nothing really captivating about this album to make it memorable or stick out in any way from the slew of other bands releases during that era...

Except for one thing...The White Ship. Pretty much the album's centerpiece and the longest track, this song is flat out greatness. Personally, I find it no surprise that the standout track by a band called H.P. Lovecraft would be the only song on the album that is based on the author's work, but regardless, this song is fantastic. Starting off with some chimes and a slow trippy pace, The White Ship possesses some stellar vocal work, Richard Wright style keyboards and some overall beautiful and haunting atmospheric passages. It's some great space rock (not proto-anything really) and if the band released a few more songs with that level of inspiration, they might have left a much better remembered legacy. Maybe more Lovecraft inspired tunes...a colour out of space, a whisperer in darkness, hanging out with an Innsmouth chick, anything related to the dude might have helped (they did go for the Mountains of Madness on their next effort), but at least we got The White Ship.

Review by Progfan97402
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I've been aware of H.P. Lovecraft since 1995, ever since I bought a copy of the Goldmine Price Guide to Collectible Record Albums (1994 edition) (too bad the book fell apart since). Ironically I knew this group before I knew the horror author/poet the band took their name from. This book obviously focused on American pressings only, so don't expect to find entries for Museo Rosenbach or Il Balletto di Bronzo, for example (if you want to see such, check Hans Pokora's Record Collector Dreams series of books). Everything from well known acts like the Beatles, Stones, Dylan and Elvis, to hyper rare and expensive like the New Tweedy Brothers. Groups like the Ultimate Spinach and H.P. Lovecraft are included. They gave a list of two prices, what each title was worth, near mint, and in good condition, in 1994 (some have really shot through the roof since then, others have stayed much the same). It's only recent that I finally acquired the first two H.P. Lovecraft LPs. Never regretted my purchases, although I realize later versions of the band (as Lovecraft and Love Craft) with only drummer Michael Tegza in common, are apparently to be avoided. Without a doubt their second album, H.P. Lovecraft II is clearly the best album. On their debut it's obvious their origins as a folk rock group, as they take on "Motherless Child" (they also took on "High Flying Bird" on their second album that Judy Henske is most famous for). Think of the debut as a bit in the league of Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, more folk rock, less psych, although the psychedelic elements are still there, this album was released in the fall of 1967, after Sgt. Pepper. How many version of Dino Valienti's (Chet Powers) "Let's Get Together" exist? H.P. Lovecraft did a version. The Airplane did one on Takes Off, and most notably the Youngbloods, who had the biggest hit with their version of it. The Kingston Trio recorded the earliest version of it in 1964. "I've Been Wrong Before" shows a bit of a Byrds influence, while "That's the Bag I'm In" reeks "'60s groovy", right down to the dated lingo. I really get a kick off this song. Despite I was born in 1972, I never related to the Gen-X lingo, never mind the current Millenial, although I always refrained from using the word "groovy" for the reason of embarrassment. "The White Ship" seems to be most liked, there's a bolero beat, almost as if the band had "White Rabbit" in mind and tried a similar approach. I'll be up front, and I'm not alone on this: "Time Machine" was a mistake. What's up with all this ragtime and vaudeville? There's one short organ break that I really like because, but that's it. Luckily I really love the lounge jazz of "That's How Much I Love You, Baby". The last piece is them doing a Gregorian chant. To me, with the exception of "Time Machine", this is a very good album, but I always felt their next one is better, but you still want their debut because it's still worth getting.

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